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Pulses have been racing on and off the poker felt thanks to our partnership with Poker Central, which has brought the World Series of Poker to Twitch for the first time. With the unprecedented access to the world’s premiere poker festival underway, what better time to check in with Jason Somerville, the man synonymous for growing and shaping the Twitch Poker category to what it is today. Jason shared his thoughts with Farhan Ahmed, Head of Twitch Poker. The two talked about the current Twitch poker landscape, shed light on the projects he’s been working on, and gave us a taste of what’s to come off the back of his recent announcement:
Farhan: How significant is it that WSOP summer festival coverage is on Twitch for the first time?
Jason: It’s amazing to finally see the WSOP on Twitch. Poker Central is doing a great service to the poker community by investing production resources into showcasing as much of the WSOP as possible. WSOP is poker’s most important event on the calendar — to me, there can’t be enough WSOP coverage and every single final table is poker history that deserves a proper spotlight. Putting that content on Twitch where the world can watch for free is so good for the game.
F: What are your favorite memories of playing at the WSOP to date?
J: Well, winning my bracelet in 2011 is a pretty good memory. I have so many though — I remember ten years ago when I walked into the Amazon room at the Rio for the first time, astounded at the sea of poker tables and overwhelmed by that symphony of riffling chips. There’s no place quite like it. I’ve met so many different characters at the WSOP, from elite pros to recreational players, all with diverse and unexpected backgrounds. The WSOP is a melting pot like no other, full of so many unique people all chasing the same dream.
F: How much do you think the poker category has changed since you started streaming on Twitch over three years ago?
J: Twitch poker has grown tremendously since I started. I remember when the poker category was just me and Jaime Staples. Now it’s grown into this huge community with hundreds of broadcasters putting out entertaining content around the clock. When I first signed my Twitch partnership deal, it expressly forbid streaming poker! It’s been amazing to see not just Twitch itself but our entire poker industry embrace the platform. There’s still so much more to come.
F: What’s your favourite moment or clip on Twitch poker to date?
J: I have so many great memories from my years of streaming, but as far as specific moments go, my top three are 3) Samantha Abernathy’s “Ship it to mama” moment from the Aussie Millions, 2) Martin McCormick’s insane bluff with Ah3h at PCA, 1) the HORSE WCOOP review I did with Daniel Negreanu. When I set out on my content creation journey I strove to create entertaining AND educational content and that HORSE review may well be the best content I’ll ever be a part of.
F: Can you shed more light on your current and future plans?
J: After 15 years of being in poker, with a heavy travel schedule as both a player and then as a PokerStars ambassador and streamer, I felt I needed to make a change and get off the road for a bit. I’m still heavily involved in Twitch poker working in a different role supporting other streamers and thinking more about the overall Twitch poker landscape. It’s hard to zoom out when you’re in the arena battling every day, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the challenge of thinking on a more macro scale. But don’t worry — I still intend on returning to streaming later on this year in addition to casting some major live events.
F: What do you think the future holds for Twitch poker?
J: Even though we’ve come so far in the last few years, I believe we’re just getting started in so many ways. There’s still a lot of growth to be had internationally and in other languages. There hasn’t been very much live content made for Twitch specifically, and while the overall standards of poker streaming have improved, I still think there’s better and more visually appealing ways we can present information to the audience. Extensions have only just begun to make their mark in poker. I’m quite optimistic on what the future may bring and am very glad to be a part of the community!